On Sunday, August 29, actor Ed Asner passed away at the age of 91. Along with his numerous TV credits, such as playing Lou Grant in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and the character’s same-named spinoff series, Asner also starred in many movies over his long career, which includes playing Santa Claus in 2003’s Elf. Now Zooey Deschanel, who also appeared in the Christmas movie, has paid tribute to her late co-star.
While Zooey Deschanel and Ed Asner didn’t really share any screen time on Elf, the New Girl actress clearly thought highly of the man, as evidenced by her sweet post. Take a look:
Zooey Deschanel is undoubtedly not alone in considering Ed Asner as “her” Santa Claus. As we approach the 20th anniversary of Elf’s release, the movie has become a Christmas staple in many households, and you certainly won’t have any trouble finding it airing on TV during the holiday season. Asner’s performance as Kris Kringle opposite Will Ferrell’s Buddy is among the many reasons why the movie is so beloved, and now he’s sadly passed on.
In case it’s been a while since you’ve put on Elf as part of your Christmas movie rotation, Zooey Deschanel (who was best known at the time for movies like Almost Famous and The Good Girl) appeared as Jovie, who worked at the Gimbels that Buddy visited, and he soon became smitten with the unenthusiastic employee. Here’s how Buddy and Jovie’s meeting unfolded:
Zooey Deschanel’s tribute to Ed Asner follows shortly after Cobra Kai talent like William Zabka and Ralph Macchio honored him. Asner appeared on the Netflix series (which was originally a YouTube Red/Premium original) as Sid Weinberg, the wealthy and selfish stepfather of Zabka’s Johnny Lawrence. Asner’s other notable credits in the final years of his life included Doom Patrol, Grace and Frankie, Modern Family, Blue Bloods and Central Park. He can now be heard reprising his Up character Carl Fredricksen in the Disney+ spinoff series Dug Days.
Along with being critically well-received, Elf was a commercial success, making over $223 million worldwide off a $33 million budget. In 2013, director Jon Favreau had expressed interest in making a sequel called Elf 2: Buddy Saves Christmas, but later that sam year, Will Ferrell said he wasn’t interested in another round as Buddy. Then last year, James Caan, who played Buddy’s biological father Walter Hobbs, said that the reason we never got an Elf sequel was supposedly because Ferrell and Favreau didn’t get along while making the first movie.
Elf would later be adapted into a stage musical and an animated TV special, with Ed Asner being the only actor from the original movie to reprise his role in the latter. As for Zooey Deschanel, she’s most recently been co-hosting ABC’s The Celebrity Dating Game with Michael Strahan, as well as reprised Bridget for Trolls: World Tour and the Trolls Holiday TV special.
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Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.